LA
01/30/2012 06:39 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Young Lee, Pinkberry Co-Founder, Pleads Not Guilty On Assault Charge

Young Lee, the Pinkberry co-founder accused of assaulting a homeless man, pleaded not guilty on Monday at his arraignment. But before he faces the court again in March, Lee has travel plans.

The judge altered the terms of his bail to allow Lee to visit South Korea on a business trip, reports CBS2, on the condition that he surrender his passport on March 5, his next court date.

If Lee doesn't return in time, he consents to an automatic extradition, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Lee is charged with one felony count of assault with a deadly weapon. He is accused of beating a homeless man with a tire iron, leaving the victim with a broken arm and cuts to the head. Officials told the Los Angeles Times that Lee felt "disrespected" after the transient showed him a sexually explicit tattoo, and that he made the homeless man kneel down and apologize before beating him.

In this video interview with NBC Los Angeles from January 17, Lee's lawyer Philip Cohen said that his client was looking forward to clearing his name, even if it meant a trial by jury. Lee's currently free on $60,000 bail but faces 7 years in prison if convicted.

Together with his then-wife, Shelly Hwang, Lee created a tart frozen yogurt empire that now spans about 100 stores globally. Shortly after his arrest, Pinkberry issued a statement clarifying that Lee had "no influence or input into the company in any way," having formally severed his ties with the company in May 2010.

CONVERSATIONS